Crockett Hangs On for Dramatic First World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Win After Tire Blows on Last Lap at I-94 Speedway
Limps to checkered flag for first time as Sweet, Madsen bear down
FERGUS FALLS, Minn. – June 21, 2014 – It’s hard enough to win your first World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series race when everything is working perfectly, but when your right rear tire lets go more than half lap from the checkered flag and you still earn your first victory, well, that’s a win you won’t soon forget.
That’s what happened to Roger Crockett on Saturday night at 3/8-mile I-94 Speedway. He grabbed the lead from Brad Sweet on lap eight and started to build his advantage in a caution-free 30-lap feature run under the constant threat of rain.
Crockett slid up to the turn four wall repeatedly during the closing laps as he pushed hard in his Buffalo Wild Wings car to extend his advantage over Sweet and Kerry Madsen. Those knocks on the wall apparently took a toll on his right rear tire because just after the white flag waved, he rolled into turn two and the tire came apart.
“I take the white flag and I come off of turn two and I’m thinking, ‘Oh my gosh, after all these years I’ve finally won an Outlaw race’ and the tire blows right there,” said Crockett, of Medford, Ore., who was making his 66th World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series start since 2002. “I’m like, ‘Oh my God.’ So I go into turn three and I see a lapped car I passed eight laps ago go by me and I think, ‘Man, we might have enough of a lead to do this.’ … I’m not one to give up, and there’s a perfect example. You never give up until you cross that line or until she won’t go no more.”
Sweet started the race by jumping out to a quick advantage in the SureTestSupplies.com car and setting the pace early, but he was held up in heavy traffic down the front stretch on lap 8 as Crockett blasted to the top in turns one and two and drove into the lead down the back.
Crockett continued weaving through traffic while Madsen and his American Racing Custom Wheels car charged forward to pressure Sweet. Crockett worked through the traffic to build a straightaway advantage, which he needed on the last lap to get the biggest victory of his career.
“Obviously, winning an Outlaw race, there’s nothing bigger in sprint car racing,” Crockett said. “It’s my first one. I’ve been close, run second, run third.”
It will no doubt be a victory Crockett won’t ever get tired of recounting.
The World of Outlaws STP Sprint Cars invade Iowa and Wisconsin next weekend for events on Friday, June 27 at 34 Raceway in Burlington, Iowa; Saturday, June 28, at Beaver Dam (Wis.) Raceway; and on Sunday, June 29, in the FVP Outlaws at Cedar Lake Speedway in New Richmond, Wis.